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How to Use the Linux Command Line on Android With Termux

Android is a capable operating system, as it offers many apps that approach desktop-class. Yet sometimes, it takes a fair bit of effort to accomplish something on Android that would be a snap on a desktop.

One solution is to take advantage of Android’s hidden Linux infrastructure. The Termux app provides a command-line environment and allows you to install honest-to-goodness Linux apps on your Android device.

Here’s how to use the Termux app.

Why Use Termux? Android

There are already some apps in the Play Store that are Android ports of Linux applications.

These differ from Termux in that they replicate those Linux apps, but they’re made in an “Android way.”

In contrast, Termux is a self-contained Linux environment. Its programs are (for all intents and purposes) the same as their Linux counterparts. This conveys some advantages over the ported applications:

  • Consistency: Linux apps that have been ported to Android require a user interface of some kind. The user experience on Android largely depends on how much effort the developer puts into it. Conversely,
    Termux apps are the same as the Linux versions, from keyboard shortcuts to how you install them.


  • Compactness: The addition of Android code can cause some slim applications to become heavy.
    For example, an Android SSH client might be anywhere from 2MB to 12MB in size.  And it provides an SSH server too.

Get a Linux command line on Android with Termux

  • Timeliness: When an application receives an update, you remain at the mercy of the app’s developer for an upgrade. In contrast, Termux applications are standard Linux packages that require less maintenance. You’re likely to get access to new features more quickly with Termux.
  • Price:  All the apps in Termux are free (and open-source), as is Termux itself.

How to Use Termux

Before diving in, understand that Termux is primarily a command-line environment. There’s no fancy user interface with shiny buttons here.

This goes not only for the base Termux package but its apps as well. You won’t get the newest version of LibreOffice with this method.

Most importantly, you must be comfortable with the command line in order to install and use these programs on Termux. To develop some familiarity, check our list of the most-used Linux Terminal commands.

When you’re ready, grab your phone or tablet and install Termux.

Download: Termux apk (Free)

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